Ár n-Athair, atá ar neamh: go naofar d’ainm.
Go dtaga do Ríocht.
Go ndéantar do thoil ar an talamh, mar dhéantar ar neamh.
Ár n-arán laethiúl tabhair dúinn.
Maith sinn ár bhfiacha, mar mhaithimid dár bhféichiúnaithe féin.
Agus ná lig sinn i gcathú, ach saor sinn ó olc.
Óir is leatsa an Ríocht agus an Chumhacht agus an Ghlóir, tré shaol na saol.

    I start this story with a prayer because I think it needs it. I start this story with a prayer because I suppose it's to be the best way to get God's attention. It's the first time I've prayed in ten years, so if this doesn't make Him sit up and take notice, I don't know what will. He hasn't heard me in almost fourteen years, so I think it's about time He started listening.

    This is a story about four people. Don't come here looking for happiness...we have none to spare. Don't come if you want to keep your innocence, for the four I will teach you about lost theirs long ago.

    Maith sinn ár bhfiacha, mar mhaithimid dár bhféichiúnaithe féin…It’s a ridiculous notion, in the end. Not all things can be forgiven.

    Once upon a time wasn’t actually that long ago. Once upon a time was March 19, 1975. That’s when things began, I suppose. That was the day a telempath was born, a child with blue eyes like the sky and hair like orange fire. He started everything with his birth, whether he realized it or not. 1975 started things rolling…Without his birth, none of the things that could have happened did. Therefore, we’ll start with him and this once upon a time.

    Once upon a time his name was Niklas. I say ‘once’ because he did not get to keep it for long. By the time he hit his teens his name had been changed for him- he was assigned a different one that his instructors felt more appropriate. But that’s skipping ahead. Niklas was the only child of a wealthy family, a family he kept for eleven years only. They were years he couldn’t regret, for even if his father was distant and almost never home, his mother spoiled him as every mother spoils their only child and one she cannot have forever. He was given anything he wanted, taken anywhere he wanted to go. The attention and constant fawning made him arrogant and a bit self-centered in his later years, but his mother was careful to keep him from getting out of hand. She wanted him to be happy without making his later years harder for him. In the end, she just barely saved him.

    Niklas was born into a gifted family. His father was an empath, a relatively powerful one. He had been recognized at a young age by an organization called Rosenkreuz, and he was moved to Austria from Germany to attend this ‘school for the gifted’. It was there that he later found his wife, and there that Niklas was born. Niklas was destined to follow his father’s footsteps. As he saw it, he was destined for great things.

    Despite the things he heard whispered about Rosenkreuz from the other families around the school, experiencing it for himself was a bit of harsh reality, a slap to the face like nothing else could be. Niklas was inducted to this society when he was eleven, and he never saw his mother again. It was less like a school and more like a twisted prison, a cold and uncaring place where those that fell behind were killed. It was a place that turned its students on each other, and the only way to survive was to grow hard against each other and everything else. Those that could not handle it were either put out of their misery by their instructors or their fellow students. A lot of people died while Niklas was there.

    The arrogance of being an only child, used to getting what he wanted, helped him survive. Niklas refused to die and he refused to come second. He was aided in this fierce quest by the fact that he had been blessed with a relatively strong gift. His talents bloomed as he grew, and he mastered the game of survival in his first year there. He was rather an optimist, which came as a surprise to those who knew him, especially considering the gifts he had been born with. The reason he could maintain such a position was because he defined things simply: making other people unhappy made him happy, and people making him unhappy was bad. His gift was strong enough that it was easy enough to make his classmates miserable. Rosenkreuz was a cruel and uncaring place, barely tolerable, but he distracted himself from this by making things more horrible for others than they were for himself. He was the instigator behind most of the messes and ‘accidental’ deaths that plagued Rosenkreuz while he was there, and because of it, his instructors found him a more appropriate name.

    One might think that he would be punished for wrecking such havoc on the ranks of the training gifted, but his instructors rather liked him for it. It was his attitude they didn’t like, the smirk that challenged them all and the condescending glint in his blue eyes. Attempts to erase this failed, and in time they decided further tries to break him into someone more submissive would just ruin the talents he had. Schuldich was damn good at what he did, and for this they were willing to look the other way if there was a lilt in his voice when he belatedly added “Sir” to his responses.

    By the time he was sixteen, he had advanced twice through the ranks, so that he skipped two years of classes and was placed on a field team. This was a matter of great relief to him, as two fewer years of Rosenkreuz was a very, very good thing. What he didn’t like was that the first field team he was required to join was with the Inquisition, a team sent out to find rogue gifts for Rosenkreuz. He rather disliked the work, the hunting down and finding of other Talents. He also disliked his team, a precognitive and four other telepaths. They didn’t much like him either, as he was two and three years their junior and had an attitude.

    Schuldich only complained once to his superiors about being placed on the team. He was punished for his insolence and kept his grumbling to himself, though he did send a sneer towards his teachers when they weren’t facing him, an expression they caught from the corners of their eyes but couldn’t be positive they’d seen. Schuldich was very good at pissing people off. Rosenkreuz had taught him how, and he turned it back on them how he liked. He had scars to show for it, but they mattered nothing to him.

    When he was sixteen, his role within Rosenkreuz changed forever. He did not know it yet, and neither did the school, but that was the year he would first cross paths with the one they called Farfarello. It would be two years more before anyone realized the impact of their meeting, and that would be the year that Schuldich stopped being an optimist.

Part 1
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